December 2001.
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December 2001 news

December 2

Minonk held its annual Parade of Lights Saturday night, December 1. The parade began at 6:30 p.m. after a burst of fireworks at the south end of town. The weather was mild and drew a large crowd to see the 18th annual parade. Around 50 floats were in this year's parade making it the biggest and best parade yet.

Many downtown shops stayed open until 9:30 p.m. to accommodate the large crowd. After the parade children had their pictures taken free at City Hall by Bruce Fischer of Fischer's Studios. This year's Santa and Mrs. Claus were Garmer (Baldy) Kleen and his wife Alta.

To see pictures of this year's parade of lights, click here.


The Lady Knights defeated Midland 41-33 in a game at Varna Saturday night. Janell Hoge lead the scoring with 16 points while Dana Wells had 12 points.
At a meeting of the Westside Park Pavilion Committee Wednesday night, architect Chuck Fischer presented his plans for the proposed pavilion. The plans include restrooms and an unfurnished kitchen that can be furnished later.

The committee was impressed with the appearance of the structure and decided to study the plans before the next meeting on December 19 and to make suggestions and final changes at that time. Fischer is to give a cost estimate at the next meeting. If the costs are acceptable the committee will then present the plans to the city council for approval. If approved, it is hoped that formal bid proposals can be prepared for bidding sometime in January.


The Fieldcrest Knights led by Ryne Haag's 28 points defeated Woodland 68-57 in a road game Friday night. Eric Heider had 18 points. Rounding out the scoring was Drew Glowacki with 9 points and Kyle Lutz with 8 points.

The Knights finished strong with 21 points in the final quarter. They are now 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Midstate Conference.


The Knights beat Heyworth 68-64 at home Tuesday night behind Eric Heider's 19 points. Fieldcrest continued its balanced scoring attack with 13 points by Ryne Haag and 11 points each by Kyle Lutz and Josh Baker.

The Knights are now 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the Midstate Conference.

December 9

A winery opened up for business this week 8 miles south of Minonk along old Route 51. Wally Furrow of El Paso planted over 11 acres of grape vines which should eventually produce over 500 bottles of wine per acre.

Furrow said that you can grow anything in this area so why not grapes? Among the grapes planted are Norton which creates a merlot wine, Chaudenelle which produces a chardonnay wine, Sayval and Vidal Blanc.

Furrow bought 26 tons of grapes from Southern Illinois this year in order to get started in making wine for next year. He also bought wine and bottled 11,000 bottles for this year's market. He said that next fall they will be able to start picking grapes from their own vineyard. It takes 3 years for a vine to produce grapes.

The wine is fermented in the stainless steel vats and then aged in toasted oak barrels. Furrow hopes to eventually sell 25,000 bottles of wine a year.

The winery also includes a gift shop which in addition to wine also sells wine accessories, gourmet food items that includes cheese from Zivney Cheese of Minonk. The gift shop contains over 7000 items and is run by Furrow's sister Judy Stimpert. Her son Quint helps run the shop and the winery.

To see pictures of the winery, click here.


The Woodford County Board appointed Ernie Bigelow as interim sheriff to replace former sheriff Bill Meyers at a board meeting Tuesday night.

Bigelow has said that he will not seek election to the office in next year's election. Three candidates have already filed for sheriff and will be on the ballot in next March's primary. The candidates who have filed are Jim Pierceall of Minonk who is a detective in the sheriff's office; Don Knapp of Goodfield who is a captain with the Illinois State University police, and Jim Fyke of Eureka who is a retired U. S. marshall.

Bigelow will fulfill the duties of former sheriff Bill Meyers who resigned last month after an investigation into alleged credit card misuse amounting to over $70,000.


Fieldcrest drummed Washburn Saturday night 65-32 in a home game at Minonk. Drew Glowacki led the Knights with 17 points and 5 assists. Eric Heider added 10 points.
Architect Chuck Fischer presented revised detail drawings of the proposed pavilion for the Westside Park at a meeting of the Westside Park Pavilion Committee Wednesday night. The committee decided to show the drawings to area contractors in order to solicit ballpark estimates for building the structure. The estimates are not to be bids but instead will be used to help determine the city budget for next year. The contractors will be contacted and asked to come to city hall Wednesday night, December 19, at 7:00 p.m. to review the drawings and specs. The contractors will be asked to give estimated costs to the committee by the end of the year.

Minonk residents woke up Friday morning to see a 3 inch blanket of wet snow on the ground. The snow was not predicted by the weather forecasters and caught morning risers by surprise. Road conditions were slippery in the morning but by noon most of the snow was removed or melted from the roads.

December 16

Fieldcrest beat LaMoille 63-47 in the Hall Holiday Tournament Tuesday night. The Knights received well-balanced scoring with 14 points from Ryne Haag and Eric Heider, 12 from Kyle Lutz and 7 each from Josh Baker and Drew Glowacki.

The Knights are now 8-3 for the season.


Hall of Spring Valley beat Fieldcrest 44-42 in a first round game of the Hall Holiday Tournament Monday night. Fieldcrest led most of the way but were beaten by a last second shot. The Knights scoring was led by Ryne Haag with 25 points.
Eureka breezed by Fieldcrest 53-29 in a home game Monday night. Ashlie Kolb and Amy Pelz each had 6 points for Fieldcrest which is now 4-6.
El Paso fought off a late rally to slip by Fieldcrest in a home game Thursday night. Amy Pelz scored 13 points to lead the scoring for the Lady Knights while Amber Pescitelli had 10 points. Jessica Imm had 7 rebounds.

Fieldcrest won the consolation title in the Hall Holiday Tournament by beating Galva 76-65 Thursday night. Eric Heider led the Knights in scoring with 25 points while Ryne Haag had 21 points. The Knights made 10 3-pointers.

Ryne Haag was named to the all-tournament team. Putman County won the championship by beating Streator 70-66.

December 23

The MDR and Minonk Community High School trophies that were stored in the high school bus barn since 1992 have been cleaned, restored and categorized. The trophies are on display at the old Odd Fellows building at 168 West Fifth Street immediately west of the Post Office.

The trophies will be given away to the public on a first come, first serve basis starting at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning, December 29.

Many trophies were not salvageable and many were missing the year and award plate. There is a box of unclaimed trophies that will also be given away. The list below is not a list of all the trophies from the past. Many trophies have already been given away or are just lost.

Below is a summarized list of the trophies on display.

  • Tackling trophies for 1975-1985 and for 1987-1991
  • DAR award winners for 1988-1991
  • Band trophies for 1969 thru 1991
  • Mens track trophies for 1950, 52, 73 thru 78
  • Mens track plaques for 1972, 89 and 92
  • Mens baseball trophies for 1949, 75, 90-91 and 91
  • Mens baseball plaques for 1976, 80, 82, 85 and 91
  • Mens basketball trophies for 1949, 61, 62 and 72 thru 92
  • Womens basketball trophies for 1980 thru 1986
  • Womens volleyball trophies and plaques for 1978 thru 1991
  • Scholastic trophies for 1979 thru 1991
  • Cheerleading trophies for 1979, 82, 84, 85, 87, 88, and 90
  • Cheerleading batons
  • Bowling trophies for 1988-89 and 1989-1990
  • Grade school trophies
    • Boys track for 1988-1992
    • Boys basketball for 1977-1992
    • Girls track for 1978 thru 1991
    • Girls volleyball for 1983, 88, 89, and 91

The Westside Park Pavilion Ad Hoc Committee met Wednesday night to show the plans for the proposed pavilion for the Westside Park. Tjaden Construction was the only contractor to show up for the meeting even though all area contractors were invited.

Harold Tjaden of Tjaden Construction said he felt that the proposed building would be a fairly easy and straight forward project and would give the committee an estimate on construction costs.

Committee member Joe Limbaugh said that he feels that the city council has to give a definite sign of support in order for the project to move forward. Committee member Dave Uphoff said that councilman Bill Koos has already given his opinion by passing a motion to give the WWI plaque from the old bandstand to the VFW so that they can find a place to display the plaque.

Alderman Dean Barth reminded the committee that the previous Minonk City Council had already voted its support for the proposed Westside Park Pavilion. Alderman Matt Fink said he felt that the city council would match whatever funds could be raised from the public. The committee decided to wait on a cost estimate from Tjaden before taking any more action.


About 1/4 of the trophies that were rescued from the Fieldcrest bus barn attic were disbursed to the public on Saturday at the old Odd Fellows building at 168 West Fifth. The MDR and Minonk Community High School trophies that were stored in the high school bus barn since 1992 were cleaned, restored and categorized.

Many trophies were not salvageable and many were missing the year and award plate. Many trophies have already been given away or are just lost.

Of particular outrage is the damage that was done to the only State Champion trophy. The figure was busted off from the1985 State Championship basketball trophy for the Minonk Grade School. The figure is nowhere to be found. It is a sad commentary on a community that could not even preserve the only state championship trophy that it has ever had. An attempt is to be made to find a replacement figurine for the trophy so that it can be restored and displayed somewhere pubicly.

About 200 trophies remain to be disbursed of in some manner.


Construction continues on the addition to the old Minonk Grade School which is now called Elementary South. Peoria Construction Company began work on the two story addition to the front of the building on December 7. Concrete blocks are now being laid.

The construction at Fieldcrest West in Toluca is not yet finalized. Delays in completion of the project have resulted in litigation against Janko Construction Company of LaSalle as well as other subcontractors according to Fieldcrest superintendent Michael Stagliano.

The old building has been cleared away and a decision must now be made to sell or develop the land.



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